TriComB2B Blogger - Daniel Lakovic

B2B MarTech: Scrap Your Collateral Warehouse

Daniel Lakovic

printing proofsOn-demand printing has replaced stacks racks of pre-printed marketing collateral. Just a decade ago, it was more economical to produce high-volume offset print vs digital. Now that technology has improved, you can produce high-quality digital print at a lower cost. This enables you to have versioning control of your collateral without scrapping large amounts of outdated inventory. It also allows clients and sales partners to quickly get collateral locally.

Especially in the industrial sectors, B2B companies are prone to making technology updates, upgrades and changes — often. Without on-demand digital printing, you’d better be prepared to have a large recycling bin.

So how does this relate to MarTech, you ask?

The answer lies in an antiquated term for a tool which I will call a “marketing collateral on-demand print platform.” These are essentially online stores managed by a print shop that prints and sends out your media.

For example:

Say you are an industrial manufacturer with a large network of distributor sales offices. They need collateral to sell your product. Your options are to go fully digital and rely on each organization to print their own pieces or provide a service that produces collateral to a quality standard that you can control. There are pros and cons to both, but I will assume that you choose to control the print quality.

You’re now in a perfect position to set up a web platform that manages marketing material/collateral. Your distribution and sales network can now place orders through a store whenever they require collateral. An added benefit of providing an on-demand service is that the collateral can be personalized. For example, a distributor may want to co-brand a shirt or flyer. You can set up your portal to allow this customization.

Further options include direct mail campaigns. If your distributors are concerned about sharing their contacts with you, offering them a channel that removes the manufacturer but empowers them with high-quality marketing materials will benefit both parties.

Who’s going to pay for this?

Managing cost is always a concern. Manufacturers will usually allot some level of marketing spend to distribution. These can be set up as budgets within the web platform. You can raise and lower accounts by territory size, regional goals, planned activities, etc. These shops can also serve as reward systems.

How do you get started?

Match a solution with your needs. Depending on your needs, you should decide what level of integration you need. Can you print and ship in-house? Do you need to build a basic online store and manage printing through a local print shop? Or should you let a print shop develop and manage the store?

Oftentimes, the answers to these questions are a result of the amount of annual collateral movements/dollar spend.

Although on-demand printing has been utilized for some time, there are still many ways to innovate this process. Whatever you decide, build your workflows to be flexible for growth.

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